Growing Your Human Resource Assets 

Written by Jim Skiera

The most common growth limitation I hear from business owners is the difficulty they have recruiting new employees. Our tree care business clients, in general, have a backlog of work but are having difficulty finding enough skilled labor to meet the client’s need. As a result, most tree care companies are more likely competing for employees, (human resource assets), more than competing for work. To make recruiting even more difficult this challenge exists for most businesses. The most common sign seen today is “Now Hiring”.  

To be competitive in this tough labor market it is critical to view employees as assets. To retain and develop employees for the long term, offer to help them build a career rather than a job. When you have a team of employees that feel they are part of your business growth plan, you are building the best recruiting tool available. Set aside time to visit with each employee to discuss their career goals and help them develop a plan to achieve the goals.

The process should include identifying and developing new leaders. New leaders may be needed to replace someone retiring, a person who has been promoted, to fill a vacancy caused by turnover and or to fill a new leadership role created to expand the company. It’s a risk management strategy that increases the availability of prepared and qualified people as the business grows, adds new employees, new services and or loses a key employee. It’s also one of the best ways to retain, inspire and reward employees. Happy employees are great recruiters. 

No matter the size of your company, this activity starts at the top. Include employees in your succession planning discussions. Leadership is a learned skilled, preparing your people to lead is one of your most important duties. One of the most important skills to develop as a leader is your ability to listen. Model that skill and it will become part of your company culture.

Here are a series of steps to consider at least once a year to help you include employee development in succession planning to grow your business and human resource asset base. 

  • Identify critical positions in the company which require highly capable employees. If you are looking to expand include critical positions needed for that expansion.
  • Identify the most competent person for each specific critical position and what the consequence would be if that person were to leave, be promoted, and or become temporarily unavailable.
  • Identify people in the organization that are likely candidates to advance into those critical positions when the time comes. These transitions can be planned in the case of a promotion, or in the case of an emergency the company is prepared to minimize the impact.
  • Identify success profiles for all critical positions. If you are on top of this there should be job descriptions to review for this information. If not, that is a good first step to developing a success profile.
  • Create development plans for successors to ensure they are ready to assume future roles.
  • Develop employee development plans to address the gaps. Budget time and resources for leadership training.

Begin by getting your key players involved to help with identifying critical positions and highly capable people. At first people that haven’t been included in this type of discussion in the past may be threatened by the concept, it may appear you are getting ready to replace them. Communication needs to be handled well and if it is, you will find it is something that is welcomed. The process allows people to see benefits and opportunities that they might not have seen before, for themselves, others and the company. In time it will be a part of your culture and every employee will become a recruiter.

If you need additional help growing your human resource assets, check out ArboRisk’s Thrive Leadership Development Package! Our experts will work with your leaders one-on-one to build their leadership skills, thereby increasing team loyalty, efficiency, and profitability.